PERRIS, Calif. — The “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 Next Generation was auctioned in December at Ritchie Bros. in Perris, California.
The winning bid was submitted by Serg Kodryanu, CEO of Freestyle Transport, and resulted in $260,000 being donated in support for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). TAT, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is dedicated to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.
Mexico’s Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative is scheduled for March 15-17. In the U.S., the initiative is next week, Jan. 11-13. In Canada, it’s scheduled for Feb. 22-24.
In addition to the proceeds raised by the sale of the Kenworth T680 Next Gen, TAT received $68,000 in additional donations from industry suppliers and trucking companies.
“Truckers Against Trafficking is an incredible organization that is utilizing our industry to help victims of human trafficking,” Kodryanu said. “After I learned the numbers of how many victims have been affected by human traffickers, I immediately felt it in my heart to make it our company’s mission to support such a great and noble cause as TAT and its mission to stop this terrible crime.
“With drivers and other members of our industry spread throughout North America, we have a great opportunity to identify and report suspicious activity and help potential human trafficking victims,” Kodryanu continued. “Our new Everyday Heroes truck will help us spread awareness of human trafficking to other drivers and communities across the country.”
Freestyle Transport, a Vancouver, Washington-based company that specializes in delivering refrigerated and dry van freight throughout the lower 48 states, placed the winning bid during an online auction hosted by Ritchie Bros.
According to Edward Little, president of Freestyle Transport and who is TAT trained, the company is in the process of getting all its executives, staff, drivers and volunteers TAT trained. He says the company looks forward to increasing awareness about the crime of human trafficking through its new Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 Next Gen.
“I’ve been a longtime supporter of Truckers Against Trafficking and its mission to educate members of our industry to identify potential cases of human trafficking,” Little said. “As a former driver, I saw firsthand the opportunities our industry has to help human trafficking victims. We’re thrilled to have purchased the Everyday Heroes truck and help support such a great organization.”
Don Blake, new sales manager at Inland Kenworth, a TAT board member and the driving force behind the auction, expressed his thanks.
“The Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 Next Gen auction was a fantastic success, thanks to Freestyle Transport and our incredible sponsors, who generously donated parts and money to build this special truck,” he noted. “Our goal was to build off the success from the previous two Everyday Heroes Kenworth trucks sold at auction by generating a larger donation to TAT than ever before. We were able to do just that, thanks to heightened interest in the new Kenworth T680 Next Gen and Greg Evigan’s involvement in promoting TAT and this auction.”
Evigan is known for his starring role in the television series “B.J. and the Bear,” which aired from 1979 to 1981.
“Truckers Against Trafficking is a tremendous organization,” Evigan said. “Congratulations to Freestyle Transport. Your generous bid for the Everyday Heroes truck will make a difference in our communities and help those in need. It was a pleasure to be involved in this project, driven by Don Blake, to promote the Everyday Heroes truck auction and raise awareness for human trafficking.”
According to Kendis Paris, TAT executive director, the $328,000 TAT received between the Everyday Heroes truck sale and additional donations surpassed the 2019 Everyday Heroes donation of $162,000 ad is the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history. The funds will help TAT expand its work within the trucking industry and further partnerships with law enforcement.
“We are so grateful to have Serg Kodryanu and Freestyle Transport submit the winning bid,” Paris said. “We appreciate Serg’s generous purchase and support, which will help us fund our programs. The Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 Next Gen will serve as a great addition to its fleet.”
The Kenworth T680 Next Gen is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper and features the PACCAR powertrain with a PACCAR MX-13 510-hp engine, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles. According to Little, the company’s new T680 Next Gen will join Freestyle Transport’s fleet of 47 trucks and will make runs to and from Washington state and Florida to generate more exposure to the specially decaled TAT truck throughout the country.
“Don Blake’s dedication to TAT and its goal of ending human trafficking is a great example of how one person’s passion, commitment and effort can make a significant positive impact and difference in the lives of thousands,” said Genevieve Bekkerus, Kenworth director of marketing.
“Don truly is an inspiration to all of us, and an excellent representative of Inland Kenworth and the Kenworth dealer network. He has put a lot of time and effort into making this auction happen, and it’s been a pleasure to support him in such a great cause,” she said. “The trucking community once again showed its generosity by coming together to support TAT and the fight against human trafficking.”
Human trafficking is an industry estimated to be worth $32 billion in the U.S. alone, and $150 billion globally, according to TAT. To further its education, TAT operates the Freedom Driver’s Project, a mobile exhibit that educates members of the trucking industry.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.